Lancelot’s death at the end of the opening two-parter of this season apparently indicated that the BBC version of Merlin wasn’t going to delve any further into the love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot that is one of the staples of the myth. This episode blows that supposition right out of the water.
In line with the rest of this season, it doesn’t take the easy way out of any of the situations that it creates, and once again the series shows that it’s become as much about Camelot as it is about the titular magician. Colin Morgan has some good moments – the closing scene showing just how far he has come as an actor over the past few years – but this episode concentrates quite rightly on Bradley James, Angel Coulby and Santiago Cabrera (and for his many fans, there’s a tantalising scene as he comes out of the water early on in the episode).
Bradley James has never been better as Arthur, torn between his duties as a king and his desires as a man. Whereas in previous seasons, some of the confrontations might have been dealt with far more melodramatically, there’s a passion present that is all the more credible because it’s clearly being restrained.
Verdict: This isn’t disposable tea-time entertainment any more. It’s become a full blown drama, and Lancelot du Lac continues a fine run of stories. Not to be missed. 8/10